Roy Halladay Is No Jack Morris


Rich Dubee, torpedoes Roy Halladay’s Hall of Fame chances. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Roy Halladay‘s case for the Hall of Fame could take a BIG hit if the whispers around Clearwater this week are true.

Word out of Phillies camp is that Rich Dubee and Charlie Manuel are leaning against Roy Halladay being the team’s Opening Day starter in Atlanta on April Fool’s Day. If that comes to pass, Halladay’s legacy will undoubtedly be dealt a huge blow.

If Cole Hamels or Cliff Lee is given the nod for Opening Day, it will break a streak of 10 straight years in which Halladay has started his team’s first game of the season. And while Dubee has avoided saying  Halladay will not toe the rubber for the April 1 contest against the Braves, if you read the tea leaves, that’s clearly the direction the Phillies are leaning.

"“Realistically, we could pitch anybody the first day as far as Doc, Cole and Cliff,” said Dubee on Tuesday. “On most staffs, they are No. 1 starters, so they all could pitch Opening Day. But part of what we’re thinking is trying to split those two lefties. Last year we started with two lefties (after Halladay) and I’d just like to split them up.”"

Clearly, Dubee is trying to protect Halladay’s feelings and avoid being murdered in his sleep much like William Wallace killed that Scottish dude with a lead ball after being betrayed at Falkirk.

*Split up the lefties.* Yeah, right. Nice try, DUBEE.

The saddest part about all this “no Halladay on Opening Day” talk is what this does to his legacy.

Everyone has long considered Roy to be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer. Up until now, his career spoke for itself.

But now that this Opening Day starter thing has crept up, how can he possibly get elected to the Hall?

Oct 16, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers former player Jack Morris waves to the crowd before game three of the 2012 ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

I mean, Jack Morris, the maker of 14 straight starts on Opening Day, is STILL not in the Hall. He is STILL locked out of Cooperstown. The injustice seems as if it will be unending.

If Jack Morris can’t get into Cooperstown with his 14 straight Opening Day starts, how can anyone expect Roy Halladay to get in with his measly 10?

I thought Halladay was an ace. Clearly, he is not the ace Jack Morris was.

Of course, you can point to Halladay’s ERA, his strikeout and walk totals, his innings totals, his complete games and shutouts, his perfect game and playoff no-hitter, and those two Cy Youngs as arguments for his inclusion in the Hall.

You people with your advanced metrics and such.

As for me, the TRUE measure of an ace is how many Opening Day starts he made. Because a team ALWAYS starts their best pitcher on Opening Day.

Clearly, Halladay is that no more, despite Dubee’s desperate attempts to convince you otherwise.

It should be noted that the Phillies are 3-0 in the three Opening Day games Roy has started for them, including last year’s 1-0 victory over the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

Unfortunately, the Phils have decided they want to let a scrub like Hamels or Lee fumble through an Opening Day start. I guess everybody feels an 0-1 start to the season is recoverable.

I am not one of those people.

Still, Dubee says Halladay won’t have a problem being demoted to Game #2, like some useless ham-and-egger (i.e. Kyle Kendrick).

"“I think those three guys we’re talking about, they just want to pitch,” Dubee said. “It’s an honor to pitch opening day, but I think they’ve all done it in the past… so it’s not like it would be their first time.”"

Actually, Cole Hamels has never pitched on Opening Day. So, there’s that.

But let’s not let the facts interrupt a good story.

Hopefully, there are still at least five more Opening Day starts in Halladay’s future. He’ll need at least 15 to clear the “Jack Morris Benchmark” and give himself a REAL shot at the Hall of Fame.

But let’s be honest. The Jack Morris hurdle is pretty damn hard to clear.